Nutritional Supplements

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Nutritional Supplements

By Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND

The protein in the food we eat supplies the body with the amino acids necessary to make its own protein. There are certain amino acids that the body cannot produce, and some that are unable to be made fast enough to meet the body’s needs. The nine amino acids that must be supplied from the protein in foods are called “essential” or “indispensable” amino acids.

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By Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND

The role of protein in wound healing has been documented in many studies with the focus on offering high calorie, high protein supplements in addition to diet. Protein is responsible for cell multiplication, repair, and synthesis of enzymes involved in wound healing. Protein supplies the binding material of skin, cartilage, and muscle. In wound cases, research supports offering protein above the traditional 0.8 grams/kilogram of body weight recommended for the healthy adult.

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By Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND

Function/Recommended Dietary Allowance:

Zinc is an essential trace mineral for DNA synthesis, cell division, collagen formation, protein synthesis, and immune function - all necessary processes for tissue regeneration and wound repair. Zinc is necessary to develop and activate T-lymphocytes, which are important for the immune system. Alterations in immune function increase the risk of infection, especially in the elderly and the very young.

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By Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND

Metabolic Roles of Vitamin C

The major function of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in wound healing is assisting in the formation of collagen, the most important protein of connective tissue. Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin found in water-filled foods, dissolves in water and is transported in the bloodstream. Excess amounts are excreted in the urine; however, since the body does not store vitamin C, food sources should be consumed on a regular basis. Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to increase tensile strength and collagen synthesis by assisting in the hydroxylation of lysine and proline, major constituents of collagen.

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By Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND

For many years clinicians have relied on serum proteins, such as albumin and pre-albumin, as markers of nutritional status. However, current research indicates that there is little data to support this practice. Albumin and pre-albumin (transthyretin) are acute phase proteins. The advent of the inflammatory process - including infection, trauma, surgery, burns, and other wounds - elicits the acute phase response. During this acute phase response, these proteins decline and are called negative acute phase reactants.

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